Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Compassionate Medicine


By Earl Carlos, Amate House

Service Site: Saint Anthony Hospital


Born in the Philippines, Earl Carlos grew up in Miami, Florida, went to middle school and high school in Oahu, Hawaii and graduated from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. The Theology major enjoys playing tennis, running, playing guitar and singing on the weekends. He is currently a first year Osteopathic Medical Student and Master's of Public Health candidate at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. Follow him on his blog, http://egcarlos.tumblr.com/



As I walked into my AmeriCorps service-site that first day, I really did not know what to expect. Yes, I read the job description and I had a detailed interview with the program director several months before I started the Community Resource Educator position at Saint Anthony Hospital. But I really could not imagine that this year would be the best year that I have lived in my life so far. This is a very big statement to make, but there was so much growth, so much learning and so much inspiration that I received this year that I feel it merits this acknowledgment.

I worked in a program called the Community Wellness Program at Saint Anthony Hospital. Their main focus is to connect a mostly immigrant Latino population to public benefits, from food stamps to the public health insurance system. I helped clients go through this process, went to the different food pantries and connected these clients to our program or other social programs in the community. I was also able to teach nutrition classes to elementary school students.
  
                                                                                                                                                                 

"I have learned to say yes: to life, life’s experiences and the new life I vow to give to myself and the community to serve."

                                                                                                                                                                  

This year, I learned that there is so much more to medicine than simply science, prescription pills or visits to the doctor. As a future medical student, I feel that my experience in medical school will be so much more fulfilling because I will be able to apply the knowledge, people skills and communication skills that I learned this year to my career. As a result of my time of service, I will be able to look at my future patients and see them as so much more than a sickness. I will seem them as a person—one that deserves nutritious food, proper medical or counseling services and good education. The future of the medical world deserves physicians who will be willing to step out of their clinics into food pantries, homeless shelters and community centers.

This year in the Community Wellness Program, I also served a population that I have never dealt with before. Now, I no longer seem them as outsiders, but as individuals just like me who are trying to make the best out of what they have been given. Most importantly, I have learned to say yes: to life, life’s experiences and the new life I vow to give to myself and the community to serve.


AmeriCorps Fast Fact: In his AmeriCorps year with Amate House, Earl educated nearly 80 children through the Mission:Nutrition program and assisted over 400 individuals in gaining access to food stamps, medical care and other social services.